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"Un Épisode à la Campagne"

Title Un Épisode à la Campagne
ComposerF.G.J. Absil
Instrum.Studio Orchestra
DateJanuary 2006
KeyBb - Gb - G - Bb
TempoAndante (86 BPM) - Moderato (68 BPM) - Allegro (96 BPM)


A musical score excerpt
  • Piccolo, Flute 1-2/Bass Flute 1-2, Oboe 1-2, Clarinet in Bb 1-2, Bass Clarinet 1-2, Contrabass Clarinet, Bassoon 1-2;
  • Trumpet 1-2-3-4, Horn in F 1-2, Trombone 1-2-3, Bass Trombone, Tuba;
  • Harp, Mallets (Glockenspiel, Marimba, Vibraphone), Timpani, Percussion (2 players: Bar Chimes, Bass Drum, Castanets, Pair of Cymbals, Shaker, Suspended Cymbal, Tambourine, Tam-tam, Triangle, Tubular Bells);
  • Jazz Guitar, Piano/Celesta, Double Bass, Drums;
  • Strings (Vi1, Vi2, Va, Vc, DB, minimum number of players: 10-8-6-4-2)


Un épisode à la campagne could serve as the Main Titles for a romantic film, set in the countryside (La jolie France). Its instrumentation requires a large studio orchestra.

After a brief introduction (based on a motive taken from the main theme), the main theme itself is presented by the solo piano (#A, m. 9), later doubled by flute, horn and strings. The main theme consists of two phrases in Bb (#A, mm. 9-16) and Db (#B, mm. 17-21). A transitional section starts at #C (m. 22, Moderato) and leads to a mysterious atonal tremolo phrase with the village church bell striking. The secondary theme is presented in the key of Bb in #D (m. 48) and leads us back to a more lively (Primo tempo) version of the main theme (now in Gb, #E, mm. 56-65). This is interrupted in m. 66 by the repeated statements of the motive from the introduction (new key in #F, m. 70) and the piece seems to come to a standstill in #G (m. 77) featuring the glockenspiel and celesta (with piccolo and flute staccato accents). However, the piece picks up momentum in m. 82, and we hear the full main theme now in a Bolero flavor (the Southern France or Iberian mood has already been suggested by the sparse castanet accents) in the key of G (#H, mm. 88-97) and Bb (#J, mm. 98-112) with luscious orchestration. The climax is followed by a subtle return of the secondary theme in #K (m. 113) and a second, somewhat shorter transitional section with unstable keys and motivic reminiscenses (mm. 121-133 and #L, mm. 134-140). The joyful final statement of the main theme (#M, mm. 141-150, full of scalar arpeggios), now in the original key of Bb but at a faster tempo (Allegro, 96 BPM), provides relief. Then, at #N (m. 151), we piece suddenly calms down to a mysterious coda, ending on a soft fermata chord in Gm, where the story of the film may start.